Project «Using virtual reality to investigate access, fidelity, and vividness of visual mental representations»

In this project we aim to examine featural properties of visual mental representations. Given that we are interested not only in color representation but specifically in location and orientation representation, we aim to develop a virtual reality (VR) environment to assess the fidelity of visual mental representations. Using VR, it is possible to exactly track the position, orientation, and color of objects. Participants will be presented with different objects at different positions in the virtual world. After the encoding phase, participants will execute the recall phase. In this phase, they will be presented with the previously encoded objects (random position, orientation, and color) and they will have to retrieve the exact position, orientation, and color. The key dependent variable is recall error, which is the difference between the original position, orientation, color of the objects at encoding and the estimated position, orientation, color of the objects at recall. Continuous measures are ideally suited to investigate the fidelity of detailed vis-ual mental representations. This study will contribute to the understanding of how objects are represented in visual long-term memory.

Duration of project
01.01.2019 – 30.06.2022


  • Ass. Prof. Corinna Martarelli, UniDistance Suisse
  • Dejan Popic, UniDistance Suisse
  • MSc Rebecca Ovalle, UniDistance Suisse
  • Ass. Prof. Nicolas Rothen, UniDistance Suisse


  • UniDistance Suisse


Related work

In this study we use our recently developed database of 3D virtual objects

  • Popic, D., Pacozzi S. G., & Martarelli, C. S. (2020). Database of virtual objects to be used in psychological research. PLOS ONE, 15(9): e0238041.

The related publication can be found here:

Figure: View in VR (recall phase). Participants have to position, orient, and color the previously seen object. 

Scroll to top